I’ve been reading a great deal about meditation lately. It’s a key component of the 11th step in AA: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” I have several friends who swear by meditation and make it an integral part of their day. I’ve always thought that I was unable to meditate because I couldn’t sit still for more than five seconds. I’m currently reading a book called “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Perhaps up until now, I haven’t been ready to meditate. Kabat-Zinn says:

You certainly have to be ready for meditation. You have to come to it at the
right time in your life, at a point where you are ready to listen carefully to your
own voice, to your own heart, to your own breathing — to just be present for
them and with them, without having to go anywhere or make anything better
or different. This is hard work.

Kabat-Zinn defines meditation as the “process by which we go about deepening our attention and awareness, refining them, and putting them to great practical use in our lives.” He describes mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally” and as as the “art of conscious living.”

So I’m trying to deepen my awareness and to pay attention in the present moment. It is hard work. But little by little, I am increasing the length of time I can sit still and just BE. Just be with me and not let my mind wander and go down the long list of things I think I should be doing. I try this in yoga too, when the instructor says to acknowledge and then let go of any thoughts that come into my mind. But we live in a society where we are expected to always be doing something, otherwise we are considered lazy. It’s hard to just sit and be. Yet it’s often exactly what we need.

Without taking the time to breath and be still and quiet my mind, I can continue to run around in circles like a raving lunatic. In today’s world, we barely have enough time in a day to do all that is expected of us. How are we supposed to just sit and meditate? We just have to make the time, because when we get ourselves into a good peaceful frame of mind, the rest of life falls into place.

Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.” Lao-Tzu, Tao-te-Ching